What Did We Learn In 2017 That Will Help Us in the New Year?
For that question, we turn to the leading analyst in the drone industry. Colin Snow is the CEO and Founder of Skylogic Research, a research, content, and advisory services firm supporting the commercial UAS industry. Colin is a 25 year technology industry veteran with a background in manufacturing, electronics, digital imaging, field service, software, research, and mobility. At Skylogic, Colin and his staff, helps companies make critical investment decisions with confidence by providing research-based insights on the commercial drone markets. In this edition of the Drone Radio Show, Colin gives us a year-end review of the drone industry and offers insights into what we may see in 2018.
In The Episode
- Introduction. Colin Snow is the CEO and Founder of Skylogic Research, a research, content, and advisory services firm supporting the commercial UAS industry.
- 2017 Trends. Colin discusses the following five key trends that defined the commercial drone industry in 2017:
- Growth: By all measures the drone industry in 2017 was marked by significant growth – growth in aircraft sales, software licenses, the number of service businesses entering the market, and the number of industrial businesses setting up commercial operations. This means increased competition, lower barriers to entry into the industry, company layoffs and restructuring and consolidations.
- Consumerization: More consumer drones are being used for commercial work than ever before. This enables companies to scale the best experiences to everyone. Enterprise customers get the added simplicity and usability of the consumer product that has been built to meet the demands of thousands of customers around the world. And the average individual pilot gets to benefit from the reliability and scalability inherent in the product and demanded by enterprise users.
- The DJI Effect: DJI is the clear market leader in drone aircraft sales and almost every software category. By building on top of their existing technology platform, DJI can fast-track development and benefit from economies of scale. By migrating the successful technology stack and feature set up market, DJI never has to reinvent the wheel—just improve upon the original design, and save engineering cycles for real innovation. This gives users a standardized platform, high quality hardware and a reliable ecosystem of software to use.
- Investments: In 2017, investments in drone technology shifted from hardware to software. Companies are focusing on delivering full-service drone solutions, which require new software systems. As a result, look for technological advances, computer chip manufacturing techniques, and economies of scale that will continue to drive down the cost of drone platforms and sensors.
- Partnerships and Ecosystems: Colin provides several examples of how partnerships in the areas of mergers & acquisitions and drone solutions formed in 2017. The partnerships will enable companies to agree on and establish standardized processes, which ultimately will allow tasks to be accomplished more efficiently and with less risk to human life. This means drone operators will be able to perform more types of data gathering missions in a shorter timeframe and with greater precision over many other options.
- Analyst’s Projections. Colin discusses the wide discrepancy in drone industry projections reported by a variety of analysts.
- Predictions for 2018. Colin makes some predictions for 2018 based on what happened in 2017 and his current research. He talks about Investment/testing for regulations/integration, Improve sensors and networking, more partnerships and the trend towards more software advancements. We see advancements in imaging, Cloud-based artificial intelligence (AI), Edge-based AI, Asset management systems and progress on Unmanned Traffic Management (UTM).
- Closing. Colin closes by saying in the short run; it may feel like we’re treading water, as technology, the public, and bureaucracy find common ground on BVLOS and operations that require flying over people. He also reminds us that it’s not about the drone, nor is it a “drone market”. It’s an “information market” and commercial operators should continue to strive for solutions to analyzing and repurposing large amounts of data that can provide value to customers.
- Skylogic Research (www.droneanalyst.com)